Despite his assurances that the Petrocaribe program would continue, Castillo Pena was not able to be pinned down on how the Belizean and Venezuelan governments would handle the ongoing issues. However, he says that will not stop the South American state from other projects to assist Belize, including in the areas of health with ophthalmology clinics under the Mission Miracle program and installing solar panels in selected villages in the south.
Mykel Lenin Castillo Pena, Charge d’Affaires, Venezuelan Embassy (Translated)
“In spite of all the difficulties, we are trying to find the mechanism so that this doesn’t occur again. The agreement continues, and once we can have the possibility of sending a shipment of oil, we will inform the government, so there are no further difficulties. The money that we would receive through Petrocaribe remains in this country; it cannot be transferred to Venezuela due to the sanctions of the United States. We are in negotiations with the government of Belize to use that money for a series of social projects such as Mission Miracle; two ophthalmology centers; and the installation of solar energy panels in the south of Belize.”
Venezuela plans to invest Petrocaribe monies in Belize
Petrocaribe monies being withheld in Belize due to an inability to transfer payments for shipments to Venezuela, will be used to finance social projects in Belize. At a press conference held today by the Embassy of Venezuela, Charge D’Affairs, Mykel Lenin Castillo Peña explained that sanctions placed by the United States have caused more than fourteen million US dollars to be retained in Belize. These monies are payments for fuel under the Petrocaribe Agreement. Viewers may recall that in March it took about two weeks to unload a shipment of fuel that had arrived in Belize under the Petrocaribe Agreement. That is because payment for the shipment was rejected on four occasions. This was because PDVSA did not have access to international banks as a result of sanctions by the US. According to Peña, it was not because they, PDVSA or the Belize government, could not pay up. And so, while monies remain in Belize, the Venezuelan government is thinking of putting the money to use in Belize.